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How to Start Reading Tarot Cards as a Complete Beginner

Updated: Feb 28

If you have been following my blog lately, you have probably noticed that I am getting back into reading Tarot cards. This is a way to bring messages from the universe and your higher self into your awareness, to receive messages about what is going on in your life and what you should do in your current situation.

Similar to reading your horoscope every day, the cards can give you guidance when you are feeling stuck, help you make difficult decisions, and give you pointers on what to be aware of coming into your life.

When you read tarot, you are tapping into your intuition and your higher wisdom. Some people also think that tarot is a way to come in contact with your ancestors or spirit guides.

Prior to doing a reading, you may want to do a short prayer or meditation, and ask the cards to provide you with the guidance you need for the day. When you pull cards, you can ask a specific question, or just do a general reading for whatever you need to know for the day. I like to do this after my morning yoga, as part of my morning routine.

Learning the cards

As you are getting started with Tarot, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the cards and their meanings. Most tarot decks come with an instruction guide, and you can take time to peruse throgh it.

When I first started reading Tarot years ago, I memorized the booklet and all the card meanings. However, that was over 20 years ago now, so I am trying to refamiliarize myself by doing a daily pick-a-card. If you follow along with my readings, eventually I will get through the full deck!

Vogue agrees with this method:

After you’ve purchased a deck, the first thing to do is to familiarize yourself with the cards. “I think establishing a relationship with the cards is important. It can be so intimidating because it’s a deck of 78 cards and they’re all different. It’s a lot of information that I think a lot of people feel they have to memorize,” Howe admits. Her tip? “If you are starting out, just working by yourself, a lot of people do a daily card pull where they pull one card from the deck and just think about the meaning of the card. If you do it in the morning, you can keep it in mind as you go through your day. That’s a nice way to get to know the cards on a deeper level.”

Also, just shuffling through the cards on a daily basis can help you to infuse your own energy into the cards, so that you will be better able to do readings that are in tune with what is going on with your life. This way, you will find your Tarot deck to be more responsive to you over time.

In addition to reading the guide that comes with the cards, you can read longer and more detailed meanings online. Personally, Biddy Tarot really resonates with me, and I use it regularly as a resource. They also offer free guides and tutorials, in addition to card meanings.

Different card spreads

When you are first starting out, you can start by just pulling a single card, and applying the meaning to your current situation. This is by far the easiest approach for a beginner. Once you get used to picking out a single card, you can get into doing more in-depth readings.

Two of the most popular spreads are the Past, Present, Future spread and the Celtic Cross. You can use either of these to do a more detailed reading, so that you can get more information from the cards on your situation. Here are some tutorials that you can watch to learn how to do each of these spreads.

The more you practice using the different Tarot card spreads, the more familiar you will get with how each of them works. You will begin to remember how all the cards interact, and what they are meant to represent.

Reading for others

Make sure you feel comfortable reading for yourself before you begin doing readings for other people in your life. Otherwise, you may get unpredictable results, or struggle to remember the meaning of each card, as well as it's location in the spread.

When you start to read for someone else, you will need to focus on that person and their energy. Once you feel an energetic connection with the other person, you can have them shuffle the cards and think of their question. Don't have them tell you the question, as it can skew your reading and make it less authentic.

Once they are happy with how much they have shuffled, you can lay out the spread of your choosing. Then, proceed to reading the cards as you have done for yourself, while still feeling the energetic connection to the other person.

Sometimes, the cards can help you "see" things intuitively about the other person, their life, and their situation. What you see can help you read the cards more accurately and help your interpretation.

Make sure you are always diplomatic with the way you explain the card reading to people. You want to make sure you aren't sounding preachy or offputting.

To get an idea how a tarot reading sounds, you can go to a reader yourself, or watch Tarot videos on TikTok or YouTube. One of my favorite readers on TikTok is Paola, you can check out her videos to see what a professional reading looks like.

If at some point you decide to start doing paid readings, make sure that you look up the laws and regulations for Tarot readers in your country or city. Different localities have different rules, including some places that ban fortune telling, so be sure you are informed!

If you need a tarot deck to get started with, you can check out your local metaphysical shop, Barns & Noble, or my online shop.

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